Oscar Piastri believes it’s “nice” to have his rookie season compared to Lewis Hamilton’s, with the McLaren driver feeling like he’s had an excellent season.
Piastri entered Formula 1 this season on the back of a controversial move from Alpine to McLaren, which required the assistance of the FIA’s Contract Recognition Board.
Some wondered whether Piastri would struggle to deal with the nature in which he joined the Woking-based outfit; however, he thrived from the get-go.
Piastri’s rookie season has been labelled as the best since Hamilton’s back in 2007, a season which saw the seven-time World Champion fight for the crown.
The young Australian hasn’t fought for the title but he has contested the leading places, and even became a Sprint race winner back at the Qatar Grand Prix.
His first top-three came in the Belgian Grand Prix Sprint race, where he was narrowly beaten by Max Verstappen.
Ahead of claiming his first Sprint win, Piastri secured his first F1 podium at the Japanese Grand Prix, before he then made his Qatar GP weekend even sweeter by finishing second in the race.
Very few expected him to feature towards the front so quickly, let alone be battling with Lando Norris instantly.
Over recent years, Norris has been too strong for Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo; however, even he’s been pushed to the limit by Piastri.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that his rookie campaign has been compared to Hamilton’s, although he does admit that he’s the first rookie since the Mercedes driver to have a car as good as the one he had in 2007.
“It’s nice to have this comparison,” Piastri told Sky Sports F1. “I’ve probably been the first rookie since Lewis to have a car as competitive as this.
“That definitely helps in some ways but I feel like it has been a good year.
“The thing I’ve been proud of is that when I’ve had those opportunities to score podiums or fight at the front, fight for pole positions, more times than not I feel like I’ve been able to get the most out of the car and out of myself. Which I don’t think is a small thing.”
Piastri certainly has the chance to end his maiden season on a high, as he’ll start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from third on the grid.